Cats are sensitive beings and can have allergies. As soft and cuddly as they are, they are sometimes prone to unpleasant reactions as a result of heightened sensitivity of the immune system to certain substances called allergens.
An interesting thing about these allergens is that just your pets react to it while you remain unaffected.
Cats can be allergic to certain foods, fabrics scents, smoke, pollen, grass, mold/mildew, cat litters, cleaning agents, prescription drugs, fleas /flea-control products, rubber and plastic materials. They can be grouped mainly into three:
- Food allergy: cats with food allergies will constantly scratch their heads and necks and have gastrointestinal troubles. Have an updated list of what your cat eats every day as much as possible so you know what food to strike out if there is an allergic reaction.
- Flea allergy: cats that spend more time outdoors than indoors are prone to this. Fleas can be present in the cat’s litter or immediate surrounding especially if you have had cats in the past. A few flea bites can cause intense itching for weeks. For some cats, flea control products cause adverse reactions rather than the actual fleas.
- Environmental allergy: Outdoor cats are susceptible to allergies because they are more exposed to a whole range of potential factors every day. overweight cats are also at a greater risk of developing asthma outdoors
The most common allergies are flea and environmental allergy
How to identify allergies in cats
Allergic cats tend to have itchy skin and a wide range of skin problems that indicate there’s something wrong on the inside. Sensitivity to environmental conditions is evident in wheezing, sneezing, coughing, especially in cases or asthma or pollen allergy. Other symptoms include eye and ear infections, irritated skin, sensitive paws and itchy tails. Other symptoms of allergies include snoring (for inflamed throat) vomiting and/or diarrhea in cases of food allergy
Once your cat begins to show signs of unease and discomfort, visit a registered veterinarian who can diagnose the allergy with the aid of a physical exam and a review of the cats history.
- Remove substances that can trigger allergies from your environment
- Use a dust-free and unscented cat litter instead of the regular box
- Clean its bedding and immediate surroundings regularly
- Use vet-recommended care products for your cat, especially tick and flea products
- The use of preventative medication such as Benadryl, an antihistamines.
Your veterinarian is in the best position to prescribe the best course of action
Medications such as antihistamines, cortisone, steroids and injections can be prescribed for cats in circumstances where the allergens cannot be avoided
Regular bathing with appropriate shampoo will reduce itching associated with mold/mildew, dust and pollen. Fatty acid supplements can also relieve your pet’s itchy skin, alongside natural or herbal sprays
For food allergy, place your cat on an exclusive prescription diet until the symptoms disappear and then you can gradually re-introduce regular meals to diagnose which is responsible for the allergy.
There are certain breeds of cats such as the Sphynx, Siberian, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex and the Balinese-Japanese that are less prone to allergies.
Allergies just mean your cats are sensitive too. They can be managed effectively. To be safe, be sure to always ask a vet